Washington: A research has indicated that regular exercise could help prevent brain damage associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer`s.
“Exercise allows the brain to rapidly produce chemicals that prevent damaging inflammation”, Professor Jean Harry, who led the study at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the United States, said.
“This could help us develop a therapeutic approach for early intervention in preventing damage to the brain,” added Harry.
Previous research has already demonstrated that exercise after brain injury can help the repair mechanisms.
This new study showed that exercise before the onset of damage modifies the brain environment in such a way that the neurons are protected from severe insults.
The study used an experimental model of brain damage, in which mice are exposed to a chemical that destroys the hippocampus, an area of the brain, which controls learning and memory.
Mice that were exercised regularly prior to exposure produced an immune messenger called interleukin-6 in the brain, which dampens the harmful inflammatory response to this damage, and prevents the loss of function that is usually observed.
This research helped understand how exercise could be used to affect the path of many human conditions, such as neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
In addition, as a chemical model of neuronal damage was used, it also raises the possibility that exercise could offer protection against the potentially harmful effects of environmental toxins.
“This elegant series of experiments reveals an alternative pathway by which voluntary physical exercise may protect hippocampal neurons,” said Dr. Ruth Barrientos from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado.
The study has been published in Elsevier’s journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.